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Wide receiver D.J. Moore was the hero for the Panthers on Sunday afternoon— until he wasn’t. An extremely ill-advised celebration penalty cost his team a chance to win the game in regulation.
Instead, Carolina’s game against Atlanta, for first place in the NFC South, went to overtime.
Late in the fourth quarter, it seemed improbable that the Panthers would emerge victorious. They were down by six with less than 30 seconds left and had the ball at their own 38-yard-line.
On 1st-and-10, quarterback P.J. Walker took the snap, rolled to his left and unleashed an 73ish-yard bomb. It was beautiful. He could not have made a better throw.
Moore had a step on double coverage and Walker dropped a dime into a bucket for the touchdown. Everything about the play was perfect. The pass, the go-route, and the catch.
Where it looked like Carolina was down-and-out on the road, the pendulum swung back in the complete opposite direction. With the score, all that the Panthers needed was a successful extra point to take the lead with 15 seconds remaining.
But Moore killed the momentum. While celebrating the Hail Mary touchdown on the field, he took off his helmet.
That is not allowed.
As a result, Moore was flagged for excessive celebration.
The points stayed on the board, but the proceeding PAT attempt was pushed back by 15 yards. What would have been a 33-yard attempt to win the game — a relative “gimme” for NFL kickers — became a 48-yard attempt to win the game.
Eddy Piñeiro trotted out for the kick, lined it up… and missed.
🎥 SURRÉALISTE ! À cause de la célébration excessive, Carolina doit tenter un Extra Point de 48 Yards, et @EddyPineiro le manque ! Direction les prolongations ! #DirtyBirds— NFL France (@NFLFrance) October 30, 2022
💻 @beinsports_FR 4 #nflextra
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With the score tied at 34, the game went to overtime.
The defense stopped the Falcons on the first possession of the extra period and Carolina got the ball back to set up a 33-yard attempt to win. It was the distance that the initial extra point would have been.
He missed again.
Atlanta took over, drove down the field and won the game and is in first place in the division.